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Google to target ads based on users’ interests

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Google believes that carefully targeted ads do not irritate people as much as regular ads. That’s why on Wednesday Google launched the test version of its new ad system that would let internet users see ads that reflect their interests.

Google will collect information about what web pages users visit, and then it will put together the right mix of ads targeted at that user. The online store Amazon came up with a similar concept a while back. But Google will bring the concept to the masses. “We can target 74% of all internet users this way. That means thousands of web pages, including our video site YouTube,” says Taťána le Moigne, head Google representative in the Czech Republic. She refused to disclose any numbers or forecasts about the new services, however.

But she said she expects that the service will increase the revenues of Google and of the owners of web pages that run ads. Advertisers will be able to target their potential customers more directly.

All Google users will be automatically included in the system. “But every user will be able to control and check his profile or opt out of the system,” says Moigne, explaining how the system will ensure the protection of personal data. Within the next few weeks, the service will also have a Czech version, and in the first half of this year major advertisers in the US and the UK will be incorporated into the system. “Czech users and advertisers will follow suit in the second half of this year. But it will depend on the results of the testing phase abroad,” says le Moigne.

Advertisers will thus have new opportunities to target their ads. Up until now, ads on web pages appeared as links, chosen based on the content of the pages on which they appeared, or advertisers were able to pay for ad space on specific pages. Now advertisers will be able to target their potential customers based on their interests and on whether they have visited specific ad pages in the past.

“Even a person who is mainly interested in photography will visit, for instance, a website about dogs, so the system will bring up ads about camera sales,” says Filip Hráček of Google.

Targeted ads are quickly gaining popularity around the world. According the agency Forrester Research, a quarter of all online agencies use some form of similar ad campaigns. “Google is just confirming the latest trends in online advertising. As in many instances in recent years, there is some controversy about the protection of personal data, but even so companies have new opportunities to strengthen their position on the market,” says Kateřina Gilliárová from the consulting company Idealisti.

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